Industrial and Organizational Psychology (IOP) can play a significant role in cultivating human potential in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as it celebrates its fiftieth anniversary and prepares for the next fifty years.
This can be achieved through the contribution of IOP to the process of managing and developing the national human capital, build leadership capabilities among Emirati youth, advance corporate and organizational creativity and innovation, enhance labor relations and rights, and take part in the strategic planning for true work force empowerment and advancement.
Despite of the rapid growth of Human Resources (HR) sectors and the increasing interest in Organizational Behavior (OB) within business context as well as the advancements in Labor Relations and Rights, there is still a relative absence of IOP at the professional level, with handful number of Emirati practitioners and only a very small number of residents working in the private sector.
Similarly, academic IOP suffers from several challenges related to the development of IOP as a serious research and scientific area. For example, the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), founded in 1976, was one of the leading universities to offer courses in the field of IOP.
The university offered placements in governmental, industrial, health, and educational sectors for those 8 interested in pursuing careers as professional psychologists (Kruse, 2002).
However, more work is needed to advance the discipline and attract potential candidates. Thus, the author aims to provide an overview of the early beginnings, current trends, and potential challenges for IOP, both as a practice and as a science in the UAE.